The Family Tree

Whilst this is a "Greatest Hits", it is really more of a retrospective for me. It is not only about the singles, but how I felt I learned and how I got there. The visual side of it was to get a close friend of mine, an Icelandic artist, a girl called Gabriela to help. She also had to struggle with the four branches, being an Icelandic artist, having Icelandic roots, which are mostly caught up these sagas and mythology, having to face the fact that there is no such thing as Icelandic modern art, so you can invent it. Just like I did with Icelandic pop music, which was a great freedom for me, so I didn’t have to struggle with people like The Beatles or Jimi Hendrix or something, I could just start from scratch, almost. Gabriela has the academic branch as me too, she went to an art school where she was told a lot about German artists, and how if you are a woman born in Iceland, thirty years ago, what on earth would you have in common with European Art History - almost nothing. So to try first of all to reject it and then to later on find that you have some of that in you as it was shown to you in school for ten years. I think any Icelander is a poet, as I have said before, everybody in Iceland at least sometimes read the poetry books and the language pretty fierce - this has become our identity through the ages. So Gabriela, my friend, has some pieces where she has dealt with that too. The fourth branch where we have dealt with foreign influences, that we are Icelandic and are up for the volcanoes and the hot springs and all that, we get really pissed off as being categorised as some sort of Eskimos or Elves. We think of ourselves as being really quite modern, we do modern things. So there is that side too, and she has done the artwork for the tree as a result.

David Toop Interview, 2002